Bukowski-On Writing

• Bukowski On Writing
if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it. if you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your typewriter searching for words, don’t do it. if you’re doing it for money or fame, don’t do it. if you’re doing it because you want women in your bed, don’t do it. if you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don’t do it. if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it, don’t do it. if you’re trying to write like somebody else, forget about it. if you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. if it never does roar out of you, do something else. if you first have to read it to your wife or your girlfriend or your boyfriend or your parents or to anybody at all, you’re not ready. don’t be like so many writers, don’t be like so many thousands of people who call themselves writers, don’t be dull and boring and pretentious, don’t be consumed with self- love. the libraries of the world have yawned themselves to sleep over your kind. don’t add to that. don’t do it. unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don’t do it. unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it. when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you. there is no other way. and there never was.


Lez Lewis




  1. I don’t know about that all of the time. The career of a writer can be a roller coaster ride. Actually, maybe it’s more like an amusement park–sometimes you’re on the merry-go-round, sometimes the fun house, and sometimes it’s the tilt-a-whirl. Whatever the case, just enjoy the ride and stop screaming to get off and don’t bitch about it afterward.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  2. Hi Lee,
    Your comments did go to spam but I unspammed them. Will have to ask the webmaster about that! I quite agree. Nobody can be psyched up all the time. I do recall that in writing this The Death of Carthage I was more focused much of the time than I’d ever been, and that writing was a great joy and even the research was fun. An amusement park indeed, but sometimes I feel that I’m spinning my wheels.

  3. Hi Robin ~ My first novel came out of my soul like a rocket. I couldn’t stop it even when I wanted to. The second one I’m forcing (a little) to meet commercial demands. So glad I stopped in and read this. Thanks! ~ Peggy

  4. Hi Peggy,
    I’m having pretty much the same experience. My first novel, The Death of Carthage practically wrote itself. It was inspired by reading Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita. Even the research was exhilerating. My second novel is proceding more sluggishly.
    I look forward to reading A Stop in the Park when it comes out. Let me know!

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